|By Tom Sloper
June 3, 2012
American Mah Jongg (2012 NMJL card). What would you discard?
1. You have two tiles to discard: E and F (Consec. #5 uses only two Fs). At this stage of the game, unless E is hot, you should discard F. Always discard warmer tiles before colder tiles. (Flowers traditionally get hotter as the hand progresses.)
2. 2012 #4 outnumbers Consec. #2 and W-D #6, so you have three tiles to discard: 3D and two Fs. Throw 3D, saving the pair for joker bait ("joker bait" is explained in column 423). A rule (in this case, "throw flowers earlier rather than later" as in problem #1 above) can be trumped by another rule (in this case, the "joker bait" strategy). (In stating the foregoing axiom, I am not equating strategic principles with rules; see column 512.)
3. This is a two-way Consec. #3, and the flowers are superfluous. Throw one of them away. Unless you want to forget the bams, too, in which case throw 7B.
4. This wants to be a 2012 hand, but it's confused as to which. Seven tiles towards #1 (not counting the joker), and seven towards #4. But not every tile is necessary for those options; you need no more than two suits. Sadly, you're weak on bams and greens, but #4 requires bams and greens. Throw 1D or 2D.
5. Consec. #2 is stronger than W-D #2, so throw a wind tile or 4D. Joker bait is often ineffective with winds.
6. The only two hands that can use three consecutive numbers in one suit (straddling a five) are Consec. #6 (seven tiles) and Quints #3 (also seven). The bams can be used for Consec. #3 (eight tiles). 6D can be used for Consec. #5 (seven tiles). Eliminate one hand. Eliminating Quints doesn't help, so eliminate Consec. #6 (concealed) and throw G.
7. Could go Odds #6, #7, #8. 3D is unnecessary.
8. This is an Odds hand still looking for a good direction. Lose a six for now, chuck the reds later.
9. Six tiles towards Consec. #6, seven towards Elevens #2. The Consec. hand is concealed, so go for Elevens. Discard a dragon or 6C or 8C.
Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.
Question or comment about this column? I often, um... intentionally... "miss" something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it! Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.
Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i.
Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book in existence about the American game. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3). Linda Fisher's website is the only website that describes American rules: http://sites.google.com/site/mahjrules/.
© 2012 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.